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New Bio Reef Day 1 - Day 26...


Evening all :smile:

Just joined up and thought I'd start of by creating my own tank diary to kick things off. I see lots of others using a Bio Reef 94L so am hoping to pick up some tips and tricks on what mods are possible etc.

I'll start off with day 1...

The last time I kept marines was almost 10 years ago - had a 300l FOWLR tank, but the cost of keeping it was too much back then. Anyway I recently had the idea to get another tank, but didn't want to go mad and get something big straight away (famous last words!) so decided to start small and apply the "quality over quantity" principle!

Found a friendly LFS a month ago and picked up a Kent Marine bio reef. The next day I picked up some water and live rock, and spent the afternoon putting it all together. This is definitely the exciting part!

I'm using 40lbs of fuji pink live sand and have 5kg of live rock so far. I know I need to get another 5kg or so, but I'm looking for some good pieces as the pieces I had that day didn't have as much fauna as I was expecting (I bought about 50kg for the last tank and it was pretty fresh!). Here's the tank with the sand and rock in place, with one of three 25l cans of saltwater being mixed/heated.


I set up the chambers as follows :

1. Heater
2. Filter floss (bought some of that)
3. Bag of carbon in the bottom and skimmer on top
4. Return pump

I binned the ceramic media etc. as advised by the LFS and folks on this forum. I intend to just swap out the floss and carbon as and when required and eventually add some phos-zorb. The filter seems OK although that return pump is a little weak - I appreciate why so many people here swap that out for something a little more powerful.

Starting to fill it up and immediately feel a little disappointed with the weedy amount of LR I bought! Still, was planning on visiting a couple of places later that week so will hopefully get some nice pieces.


Having read up that night I also bought a Red Sea reef mature pro kit, and a Red Sea marine care test kit. I intend to try out that 21 day cycling - mainly because it gives me something to do everyday! Finally got the last of the water in and everything is switched on...


I chucked in the couple of sachets of Biomagnet that came with the live sand. Figured it couldn't hurt and will speed up the water clearing. Temp is 26 °C and salinity 1.026 - a little at the high end so will keep an eye on that.

So now the waiting game I guess - I intended to go shopping for some more LR the next day and hopefully the water would have cleared up by then. Will start using the reef mature kit too which should start everything off nicely!

Now day 4 for the new tank and it seems to be cycling nicely.

I picked up another 5kg of live rock - a nice mix of regular Fiji and bluestone. It makes the existing live rock look all the more drab! I spent ages moving it all around trying to get it arranged nicely, and have so far settled on how it is in the pic below. Still not sure 100% though!


The three things I was trying to achieve were 1) hide the "ugly" live rock, 2) create plenty of flat surfaces thinking ahead for when I start adding corals etc. and 3) have some sort of seabed in the middle.

The thing on the left is a brine shrimp hatchery!

Couple more pics of the rock closer up...


You can see the diatom bloom has started on the piece at the back. And again here...


I've been following the Red Sea reef mature program and so far levels are as follows :

Salinity : 1.025
pH : 7.6 (seems very low, but I've changed the pump output to agitate the surface of the water so will keep an eye on this over the next week and see what happens. Also I'm raising the alkalinity up to 3 meq/l so as I far as I understand this should raise the pH too)
KH : 2.68
Ammonia : 0.4
Nitrite : 0.1
Nitrate : 0

Odd thing is though, according to the Red Sea documentation I should be seeing approximately :

Ammonia : 1
Nitrite : 0.1
Nitrate : 10-15

Ammonia and Nitrite I can believe, but should I really be expecting a Nitrate reading of 10-15ppm this early?!

Day 6

I picked up another power head the next day so have 5,200lph of flow at the moment, although both powerheads can be toned down to 800lph each to bring it all down to 3,600lph if needs be!

Diatoms are blooming across the rock and substrate so things are going as planned. Am due to test ammonia levels tomorrow so am hoping to see things happening with the water chemistry in that sense too.

Day 8

Tank is in full bloom with diatoms and red hair algae now - looks horrible but it's a necessary evil!

Nothing much else happening although I'm going to start off my CUC hopefully soon so am looking forward to that! I was thinking 5 red legged hermits, 5 Nassarius, 5 Trochus and maybe a conch.

Current stats are :

Salinity : 1.025
pH : 7.8
KH : 2.68
Ammonia : 0
Nitrite : 0
Nitrate : 0 <---- still zero!

I'm currently suffering from millions of micro bubbles from the skimmer - I keep on tweaking it (and have modded the air intake) but I think it just needs a couple of days to calm down and hopefully the bubbles will stop.




Day 21

Quick update - tank has gone algae mad! Current stats are as follows :

Ammonia : 0ppm
Nitrite : 0ppm
Nitrate : 50ppm

So we're on the right track! Only two issues at the moment are these damn bubbles from the skimmer (I've spent countless hours trying to tweak it!) and as you can see quite alot of algae growth. I've reduced the amount of hours the lights are on (down from 12hrs to 10hrs) to try and calm it down a little, and hopefully this weekend if the nitrates drop I can add some CUC to deal with the worst of it.




I'm still dosing NOPOX so wasn't going to run any phosphate media, but I'm thinking now maybe it's a good idea to run some Rowaphos or equivalent alongside?

Day 24 and it's slowly getting there!


The majority of the green hair algae has been eating up by the CUC, and the reduction of nitrates and phosphates has cleared up the red stuff too.

I'm pretty pleased with the current stats :

Salinity : 1.025
pH : 7.8
KH : 2.72
Ammonia : 0
Nitrite : 0
Nitrate : 5
Phosphate : 0.04
Mg : 1300
Ca : 440

I'm still dosing NOPOX daily and will continue with the Red Sea Coralline Gro until the bottle runs out, and will then switch to the Reef Foundation supplements.

I've binned the Kent skimmer and squeezed in a TurboFlotor 500 - however I'm considering going skimmer-less because I've decided all internal skimmers are a pain in the ass!

I've also upped the return to 2 x 1000lph pumps for increased power through into the filter chambers, where I'm still running floss but have added a polyfilter, PhosGuard and MatrixCarbon running through an internal filter. My only issue now is that I'm struggling with temps! I'm not sure whether it's the 2 returns or the internal filter but something is heating the tank up and I'm still investigating what's the exact cause.

I don't intend to add any fish for a while yet, but have a load of frags on their way to me this week - just lots of different Zoas and Mushrooms - the easy stuff!

Will post pics once the frags are here!

Day 26

Still battling with high temps and still trying to find the source. I think at this stage it's the return pumps - I have 2 x Eheim compact 1000's, but they're both 23wt's each so must be kicking out a fair bit of heat. Might need to rethink this!

Frags have shipped and will be with me tomorrow!


New Member Forum Support
An excellent writeup and read here fella and looking good. Nice to see the parameters coming into line and the algae reducing as it all settles in.

Never used Nopox myself but using carbon and rowa myself during the cycle with good results so far :)

Regarding the last comment about heat I have a Boyu which is easily controlled by propping the feeding lid open during the warm weather. If the problem persists because of equipment then try a TC-10 or ATC-800 to control a fan attached to the hood. A twin Azoo sorted it for me :)


Tanks looks great so far,I really like your layout:thumbup: I've always had issues with the temp on my bio,I now use a hang on fan I ordered from Hong Kong.


Morning folks!

Thanks for all the positive feedback! Big Thumbs Up

Delivery guy was knocking the door at 9am this morning so I nipped out of work to get the bags floated asap...

View attachment 67572

Am now going to drip acclimatise over the next few hours and transfer them to my new frag rack (as seen on the left). Can't wait until they open up and I can see them properly!

There's nothing terribly exciting, just lots of various Zoa frags, some GSP and a couple of Ricordea Mushroom frags - all hardy stuff to begin with.

Temps were still suffering so I had to knock off some pumps and get the fan on it to bring it back down. I'm sure it's these Eheim compact pumps - they're 23 watts each which seems loads for a small return pump even if they are both rated at 1000lph. My Aquamedic 1000lph pumps for example are only 10 watts each!

Appreciate the advice on the fans - I'll have a look at the Azoo and TC-10!

Will update this evening, hopefully with pics of open polyps!


Well everything is still settling in, but it's nice to finally have some life in the tank (apart from the CUC of course!)...

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I've put some of the frags in position but not permanently fixed yet until I'm sure they're happy with the flow etc. There's a white striped Ricordea in the foreground with some (as yet unopened) Zoa attached, a Rhodactis up top and various coloured Zoa frags in between.

Some more pics because everyone likes pics!

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And a load more tiny Zoa frags, which I was bit peeved about at first as I bought the frag rack assuming the corals from the same place would fit, but alas they don't. They do however wedge in the holes at a slight angle so that will do for now. I did place them on the sand bed at first but my Nassarius' started playing silly buggers!

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There's a mixture of red & yellows, radio active greens, green yellow and blues, green orange and my favourite - red eagle greens (must get some more of them!). I was going to make my own little Zoa garden but the frag plugs are going to be difficult to conceal. Any tips on that?

Finally I got a fairly puny frag of GSP (one the left) and, I know I probably shouldn't have, but I also bought a tiny purple Acropora Nana frag that I wanted to have a go at. No more SPS though until I see how this little frag does :)

View attachment 67659

So I just need to figure out placement now. I was conscious of building lots of flat, well lit surfaces when aqua scaping so will keep the bigger spaces for some LPS colonies. I'd really like a Hammer on one side and a Duncan on the other - that's the plan anyways. I know of two locals selling both so I have them lined up already!

Water testing day tomorrow so fingers crossed all levels are still good!


Forgot to add - noticed half a dozen or so Aiptasia when placing some of the frags :eek: Nothing a little Sodium Hydroxide didn't immediately sort out though! Would recommend it Big Thumbs Up


great start Adam, oh the joys of tank cycling. You can tell you've been there before

Regards Dave


New Member Forum Support
Nice little update with the frags fella :)

My concern would be the acro but you are seemingly aware of it's needs so good luck with them all :)


Thanks everyone :thumbup1:

Have just done my weekly water change etc. and stats are looking good!

Salinity : 1.025
pH : 8.2
KH : 3.1
Ammonia : 0
Nitrite : 0
Nitrate : 3
Phosphate : 0.03
Mg : 1380
Ca : 450

Happy to see the pH has buffered up - guess it's because of the raised alkalinity.

Bought another coral :rolleyes: 6/7 headed Duncan for a tenner - couldn't let that pass! Haven't picked it up yet but depending on how big it is I might frag it and swap some heads for something at the LFS.

View attachment 67698


View attachment 67714

Duncan has opened up this morning and seems very happy! Not sure about placement yet but dead centre might be a good spot anyway?

Very pleased with this buy - it's got 6 heads and was only £10 so :clap:


Great buy with that dungan,where did u buy the dish u had your frags in? I've been looking all over and can't find one.:D


Yeah it was a bargain - really pleased with it! Has started to sprout two new heads already so it must be happy where it is :clap:

The frag rack was from eBay - jbsmarines was the seller.


Ah thanks ill have a look,I know a lot of guys use soap dishes but I can't seem to find any.sods law really,if I didn't want one ill be up to my arm pits in them:D


Evening all :smile:

I must update you with some pics tomorrow, but the tank is doing fantastically!

The coral growth I'm experiencing is pretty amazing - my Duncans now has 12 heads, a small Torch coral has doubled in size, my Zoas (which I have many Big Thumbs Up) are like weeds and I'm even seeing good SPS growth (I have a Seriatopora Hystrix, a Turbinaria, a Porites, a Pavona, a purple Acropora Nana and a green Montipora).

I've added two Peppermint Shrimp to take care of some hard-to-reach Aiptasia - they make a brilliant pair, however I wish they'd stop stealing Mysis from my Torch coral!

Fish wise I have a pair of Ocellaris Clowns and a pair of Green Mandarins <=== I love these two!

Don't think I've touched any equipment other than swap my skimmer for a Tunze 9002. Still having an issue with heat - it seems the tank manages to heat itself to 28°C even though the heater is set much lower. I still blame those Eheim compacts - too many watts for such small pumps.

No sign of GHA or Cyano for over a month now. Levels are all good and purple Coralline is starting to give it all that "lived in" look!

I've also started growing my own Phyto and cultivating Copepods (although my Mandarins are eating frozen food). Aspirations of a shallow frag tank, a Pico tank for dwarf Seahorses and a RSM 250 for the living room is driving my Girlfriend crazy!

Anyway I shall upload some pics as soon as I can for you all to take a look :smile:


Great read.
Good to hear about your growth too, the Duncan must be really happy.
That's a lot of wattage for a compact unit, didn't realize they used that much power, I think then equivalent MaxiJet is about 14w. Wouldn't cost too much to swap them out however you may appreciate the extra heat as we was towards the winter.
Are you using stock lighting?


Great read.
Good to hear about your growth too, the Duncan must be really happy.
That's a lot of wattage for a compact unit, didn't realize they used that much power, I think then equivalent MaxiJet is about 14w. Wouldn't cost too much to swap them out however you may appreciate the extra heat as we was towards the winter.
Are you using stock lighting?

Thanks James :biggrin:

It is still running the stock lighting, and it doesn't seem overly warm in the room it's in so I think the heat must be coming from "within" so to speak. Like you say the extra warmth may come in handy now the days are getting chillier, but failing that I have a couple of AquaMedic 1000lph pumps spare that are only 10 watts each so that will be plan B!


And as promised, some shots of the tank taken today...


View attachment 70916

Then starting from the left - an odd looking piece of algae that's recently sprouted up. Kinda looks like a piece of plastic, but prettier than GHA! It could be a form of seaweed? I'm keeping an eye on it and will cut it back soon. Top of the pic is teeming with seaweeds of some sort - again I don't mind it at the moment but don't want it becoming a nuisance either. It's a great piece of live rock for a refugium though so that's my plans for it! Also a small Ricordea in the foreground.

View attachment 70917

Next up is the Duncan which as I say is doing very well. I've struggled with placement for the frags I have, but you can see a Rhodactus mushroom, Turbinaria and a Porites. Good place to put them? I'm not sure, but at this size they're pretty easy to relocate if needs be. Cheeky little Mandarin too!

View attachment 70918

Below that lots of Zoa frags (the red eagle eye on the right is my favourite), a small frag of GSP and a SPS frag that I'm not 100% certain of what it is?! If anyone can ID it would be much appreciated. Another patch of green just above (Bryopsis?) has started to shadow the SPS frag so I'm cutting that back tonight.

View attachment 70919

Mid tank I just caught the pair of Mandarins in shot! Encrusting Porites doing it's thing on the left, more Zoas and the Birdsnest frag at the top.

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And another with a better pic of one of the Mandarins - the female by the looks of it.

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On the right we have the Monti that's doing well in that spot, some button polyps, another Ricordea, a Rhoadactis that's just split, the little Acropora and the Torch.

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A strawberry Conch that is THE most pointless critter in the tank, but my Girlfriend loves him so despite endless threats to trade him in for a hermit he's staying put! Obviously the obligatory red-leg on the left, and a mussel on the right that was attached to a piece of LR last time I saw it. But came home from work this evening and it was on the sandbed. Don't know what to do with it?!

Although unsightly, I don't like to clean the bottom inch of the tank because as we know you pick up sand with the algae magnet and that's how you get scratches. But also there's a pretty large Copepod colony occupying that part of the tank so I like to just leave them alone (that is until the Mandarins figure it out!).

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Clownfish pair. A little annoying that they've decided to host the top right corner of the tank but ho-hum - Clowns will do what Clowns want. The female is feisty!

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Trochus - ummm...

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And that would be the male Mandarin!

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So that's the journey so far :smile: Day 66 since I first got the tank wet.

I'm an advocate of Red Sea's products and have been dosing NOPOX since day 1, and have also been using Foundation A&B for the last month. The corals get Reef Energy daily, sometimes Phyto, and are target fed a couple of times a week with Mysis or Krill. All my corals have been cheap little frags, but with the idea of growing them on in this tank before moving to something bigger next year. My plan has always been to aim for accelerated growth, so with boosted nutrient levels the corals may not be as colourful as they could be but once they're in "the upgrade" I want to see some pretty colours and will adjust my supplements to suit.

Hope you like it Big Thumbs Up